Thursday, January 30, 2014
When I set out to document the changes I had observed in the Navy F-4s (in regards to their ECM equipment) I though it would be nice and neat and easy to do. Well, I had served in the Air Force and had no idea how the Navy set about to do such things. I am beginning to learn that things weren't hard and fast and neat. And I am beginning to understand why.
In the Air Force when a change has to be made kits are made up and sent to all the Air Bases that have that particular aircraft. They have nice big shops and maintenance facilities to do the mods and get the birds back flying.
In the Navy you have squadrons all over the world on aircraft carriers, often without the time or equipment to make the changes, and you can't just fly the kits to the carrier on a C-141 or C-130. So it would have to wait until the next time the aircraft was at a land base for special or depot level maintenance, or the squadron rotated stateside.
In the world of EW equipment during the Vietnam War the equipment was changing rapidly. So the whole kit may have changed from the time it was sent out until the plane finally made it in for scheduled maintenance. If you doubt this just look at the configuration changes that were issued for the F-4 by the Navy between 1966-1970. It is a real eye-opener.
So the perfectionist in me hates to keep making changes, when I know the information is going to change again. Don't worry the whole sorry mess will be straightened out (as best as possibly can be) and it will be well worth the wait.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Thursday, November 28, 2013
- Two place aircraft.
- Remove all electronic equipment items and replace with close support equipment to provide visual delivery of ground support weapons and visual lay down capabilities.
- Replace single main landing gear tire with dual 30 x 7.7 tires.
- Deactivate wing fold and remove catapult and arresting gear.
- Remove Sparrow III missiles and supporting equipment and electronics.
- Remove equipment refrigeration package for equipment cooling, utilizing cabin refrigeration unit to also cool equipment.
- Add cartridge starters and battery.
- Replace present arresting gear with lightweight hook.
- Add IFR boom receptacle.
- Powered by two General Electric J79-GE-8 turbojet or Allison AR-168-18 (Allison built Rolls Royce Spey RB-168) turbofan engines.
- (Alternate G-1 only) Add one M-61 Vulcan aircraft cannon with 930 rounds 20mm ammunition.
- Single-seat Aircraft
- Remove rear seat and all associated controls, instruments, and equipment. (Space available for equipment growth and/or reconnaissance capability)
- Remove rear canopy glass and replace with sheet metal.
- Remove rear canopy electrical and jettison equipment and modify manual controls to open and close hatch.
- Eliminate Central Air Data Computer (CADC) and flight control group equipment.
- Remove IFR Probe and all associated equipment.
- Remove variable bellmouth from engine duct, keep bellmouth controller to control variable inlet ramps.
- Powered by two General Electric J79-GE-8 turbojet engines.
I am sure that the Army didn't show a lot of interest because, even in the stripped down state presented by these proposals, the F-4 was just too much of an aircraft both weight-wise and complexity to operate out of primitive forward area airstrips. Maintenance would have been a head ache, and even with the dual main wheels, I am sure it would sink into any soft soil it would come in contact with. The T-37, which was the early favorite, would have probably served the Army well in their intended role. But in the end the Army didn't pursue any jet aircraft, and the Air Force won the war in the end.
- US Army Aircraft Since 1947, by Stephen Harding
- Note by the Secretaries to the Joint Chiefs of Staf- Functions of the Armed Forces and the Joint Chiefs of Staff – Reference J.C.S 1478 Series, dated 21 April 1948
- A History of Army Aviation: From Its Beginnings to the War on Terror, by James Williams
- Tactical Airlift. United States Air Force in Southeast Asia, by Ray Bowers
- McDonnell List of Proposed Models, dated 1 July 1974
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
McDonnell had approached the RAF before with Phantom proposals to meet their needs. In 1960 they had proposed model 98CJ (proposed as F-4H) which was essentially an F-4B with some modifications for the RAF. It was to be powered by Rolls Royce RB-168 engines with cartridge starters, dual controls for transitional training, the shipboard catapult, wing fold, and arresting gear was to be removed and replaced by a lighter, non-retracting tail hook for emergency use, and increased internal fuel provisions. Then in 1964 McDonnell proposed model 98EO (proposed as F-4E) which was essentially the F-4D with Rolls Royce RB168-25R engines.
So when the RAF showed interest, McDonnell was quick to give them a proposal. On 21 January 1965 the specifications for the model 98GN (proposed as the F-4M) was finalized and given to the RAF, which was essentially the same as the F-4K that the Royal Navy had ordered, with the removal of some Navy specific equipment like the extending nose gear strut. This resulted in an order for 150 aircraft.
One very interesting proposal came out of the RAF’s requirement for the ability to use the phantom to replace the Hunter and Canberra in the reconnaissance role. Britain could not afford (or chose not to purchase) a dedicated reconnaissance version like the RF-4B or -4C. But in McDonnell Report No. B617, dated 1 August 1966 and titled The Royal Air Force Phantom II, McDonnell showed two options to fill this role.
The first option was a centerline pod which was about the size of the 600gal centerline fuel tank. It was proposed that all the F-4Ms be built with the capability to use this pod. The advantages of this system was that all the equipment could be moved from one aircraft to another as needed, repairs to the equipment could be performed without taking the aircraft out of service, and the aircraft would keep its full air-to-air capability. The disadvantages were that the range would be reduced since there would be no centerline fuel tank, aircraft performance would be somewhat affected (although not much more than the centerline tank), and the aircraft, which already had very little room for added equipment, would have to have accommodate long cable harnesses to connect the pod to the newly added equipment for the cockpit and systems.
- McDonnell Report B617, dated 1 August 1966
- McDonnell List of Proposed Models, dated 1 July 1974
- Aeroguide 13 - McDonnell Phantom FG Mk.1 & FGR Mk.2, by Roger Chesneau
20 November 2013 - Original Post
Friday, November 1, 2013
1. The first item that raised questions in my mind was the designation F-4P. I had never heard that variant before from any source and so it sent up red flags, and I need verification from at least one or two more sources before I believe it. To quote exactly what Mr. Bugos said:
"From their experience against SAMs and various NATO weapons in the hands of its Arab enemies, the Israelis devised a mysterious electronic warfare version, dubbed the F-4P. Since some Israeli enemies were U.S. customers, Israel did not share every modification with the American military."
While I am sure there were quite a few modifications that Israel made to their aircraft that weren't shared with the U.S. military, I question the F-4P designation. Israel didn't seem to put much stock into numeric designations, but rather used names to identify differing models. In the case of the F-4 Phantom variants Israel used Kurnass (F-4E), Tsalam Shabul (F-4E(S)), Kurnass Tsilum (RF-4E), and then Kurnass 2000, etc.
According to John Lake and David Donald in the fine work "McDonnell F-4 Phantom - Spirit in the Skies," the F-4P designation was at one time earmarked for the HIAC/PCC mockup that was later to become the never built F-4X program.
Meanwhile, the whole idea that there still is an undocumented version of the Kurnass used for electronic warfare has peaked my interest.
2. In his book Mr. Bugos also talks about the Navy's decision to delete the cannon armament and go with a completely missile armament on the F4H. Here are what he gives as the reasons for that decision:
- Missiles and their associated equipment were much lighter than the cannons and associated equipment that they replaced.
- They were much cheaper than an aircraft. (you may be thinking at this point...duh, really? But the reasoning here is that with cannon armament the aircraft has to get dangerously close to the target, which increases the possibility that the aircraft itself may be lost in a dogfight.)
- Self-guided missiles reduced the workload of the aviators (Navy pilots), who only had to mash a button in response to symbols on a radar screen, rather than engaging in a dogfight (see rationale in #2 above),
- The use of guided missiles allowed a more flexible reconstruction of the F4Hs interception system.
4. A Phantom by any other name. It seems that just before the YF4H-1 roll-out, there was a vote taken of McDonnell and Navy personnel to choose the name for the new aircraft. The choices offered were Sprite, Ghost, Goblin, Satan, and Phantom II. (I guess Mr. McDonnell had a special interest in the spirit world to such a extent that the War Department, in June 1946, had reserved for Mr. McDonnell the names of inhabitants of the spirit world.) Well the vote came in and the top two vote getters were Satan and Ghost. So how did it become Phantom II? Well, the only vote that really counted was Mr. McDonnell's, so at the last moment he decided to call it Phantom II in honor of the jet fighter that had moved his company from making parts for other aircraft manufacturers to designing and manufacturing their own aircraft. (F-4 Sprite????? I think not!)
- Engineering the F-4 Phantom II - Parts into Systems, by Glenn E Bugos
- McDonnell F-4 Phantom - Spirit in the Skies, edited by John Lake and David Donald
11/01/2013 - Original Post
11/04/2013 - Added information from McDonnell F-4 Phantom Spirit in the Skies, to the F-4P designation.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
As the air war in Vietnam heated up, and the Soviet Union started supplying the North Vietnamese armed forces with better air defenses, the US Air Force realized the need for what became known as Wild Weasel aircraft to help suppress the SAMs. Their first attempt was the F-100F Wild Weasel I aircraft. While the F-100F was successful in suppressing SAM activity, it had one glaring weakness - speed. The F-105s that were carrying out the bombing campaign found themselves flying very slow so they didn't out-distance the F-100s that were providing them protection.
A newer airframe was needed, one that could keep pace with the fighter-bomber formations without effecting their performance. The two airframes that were available at the time were the F-105 Thunderchief and the F-4 Phantom II. So the US Air Force initiated parallel programs fitting the Wild Weasel electronic suites into both aircraft. This decision was based on the fact that there were a finite number of F-105s available as production had been closed on that aircraft, but the F-4 was still in production and could make up for combat loses with new aircraft. This decision was to prove to be a very wise one.
(E)F-4C Wild Weasel IVThe first flight of a Weasel EF-105F took place on 15 January 1966, with first flight of a Weasel F-4C expected to take place six months later in July of the same year. But the F-4C conversion was very protracted and was beset by one problem after another. The first problem was simply one of space. While the F-105 and F-4 were roughly the same size, the F-105 was a single engine aircraft where the F-4 with its two engines needed more real estate for fuel lines, control lines, and electronics just to operate. In short, the Phantom was a jam-packed aircraft and simply could not handle the added electronics and wiring required to properly install Wild Weasel equipment without some major revisions.
The (E)F-4C Wild Weasel went through several versions during development. The first - Wild Weasel IV-A was a pod mounted system in the starboard rear missile well. All of the Sparrow launch equipment and wiring were removed and replace with the necessary electronics and wiring for the Wild Weasel mission. Itek/ATI APR-25 and -26 RHAW equipment was installed and a IR-133 Panoramic Receiver was put in the pod. Sounds nice, but it didn't work, there was high interference coming from someplace and it gave either erratic displays or no display at all. For a year the engineers beat their collective head against the wall, trying to understanding how the same system that worked well in the F-100F and EF-105F resulted in nothing but problems on the F-4. Finally Mr. C.K. Bullock the brain-child of the Wild Weasel I system installed in the F-100F was brought in as a consultant and he spotted the problem right away. The F-100 and F-105 both used low-capacitance coaxial cable to carry the video information to the RHAW scopes to match the low-capacitance wiring of the of the aircraft. The F-4, on the other hand, used high-capacitance wiring on its systems so they had used high-capacitance wiring to incorporate the Wild Weasel installation. The equipment wasn't designed for that.
With this problem solved, McDonnell began flight tests of the Wild Weasel 4, but further problems with vibration in the pod caused erratic displays, again delaying the program. Meanwhile EF-105F Weasels were already in combat and were achieving a lot of success. It became obvious to McDonnell Engineers that somehow the system would have to be mounted internally.
McDonnell engineers began working feverishly on Project Wild Weasel IV-C, the reengineering effort to make room in the F-4C for the Wild Weasel components. Finally, in June of 1968, almost two years after the scheduled deployment of at least four (E)F-4C Weasels, the installation of the electronics in their new internal spaces was begun! The new installation worked as advertised and the first operational (E)F-4C Wild Weasel was delivered to the 67th TFS based at Kadena AB, ROK on October of 1969.
By this time is seemed that the Vietnam War was winding down and the EF-105Fs seemed to have things well in hand, so the (E)F-4Cs were not needed. But, the 67th TFS (E)F-4Cs would get a crack at combat. Because of the North Vietnamese Easter Offensive in 1972, President Nixon ordered a full resumption of bombing military targets in North Vietnam. Many more aircraft were committed to LINEBACKER operations than before and the sole Wild Weasel EF-105F unit in SEA could not handle the increased mission load. In October of 1972, the 67th TFS was alerted for combat duty and was sent TDY to Korat, Thailand, just in time for the LINEBACKER II maximum effort in December. The (E)F-4Cs performed admirably while flying over 460 missions
|(E)F-4C Wild Weasel IV-C of the 67th TFS|
Thirty-six (E)F-4Cs were eventually modified to Wild Weasel IV-C specifications, tw
elve were assigned to the 67th TFS, Kadena AB, ROK; twelve to the 81st TFS, Spangdalem, West Germany; with the final twelve being assigned to the 35th TFW at George AFB, California - the new home of the Wild Weasels.
The (E)F-4C Wild Weasel was a very successful conversion once all the bugs were ironed out. But not every weapon system is flawless. The one glaring weakness with the (E)F-4C was the lack of the ability to use the AGM-78 Standard ARM missile.
(E)F-4D Wild Weasel IV-BThere were two F-4Ds modified for the Wild Weasel mission under Project Wild Weasel IV-B. Both aircraft (65-657 and 65-660), were used to test the Bendix APS-107 Radar Homing and Warning (RHAW) system with an ER-142 panoramic receiver. Although the APS-107 gear was more sophisticated and accurate than the APR-25/-26 units and finally gave the (E)F-4 the ability to use the AGM-78 Standard ARM, it proved unreliable and erratic under combat conditions - at least for the Wild Weasel mission.
Several standard F-4Ds were used to test other programs relative to the Wild Weasel mission. One aircraft (65-0644) was used to test the AGM-78 Standard ARM missile, and several F-4Ds were used to perfect the AGM-65 Maverick missile.
(E)F-4D Wild Weasel V Test PlatformAt least two F-4Ds (66-7635 and 66-7647) were modified and equipped with the new McDonnell-Douglas designed APR-38 Warning and Attack System, the basis of the entire F-4G program.
Originally, the F-4G program had originally been slated for installation in ninety F-4Ds, but the Air Force opted for the more modem F-4E. This decision was made because the F-4E had much more internal volume available (especially once the gun was removed) and it was considered the cheaper option because the F-4E aircraft were much more up to date than the F-4Ds which would have to be brought up to the current state of the art. This was apparent in testing the (E)F-4D test aircraft which had to carry much of the electronics in a special canoe fairing which took the place of the port/forward missile launcher because of the lack of space.
The (E)F-4D Wild Weasel aircraft never progressed farther than a test platform for the Wild Weasel V electronics, so none entered active service in any USAF squadrons.
- Drawings (c) by Kim Simmelink
- Wild Weasel - The SAM Suppression Story, by Larry Davis
10/27/2013 - Original Post
Saturday, October 26, 2013
It seems that the IAF had problems carrying the Popeye missile or the Rafael Tadmit when the AN/ALE-40 Chaff and Flare dispensers were mounted on the pylon sides. The fins interfered with the AN/ALE-40 operation. So they made a new pylon that would move the MAU-12 ejector rack forward so the fins would clear the AN/ALE-40.
Sounds simple enough, but they couldn't leave the MAU-12 in the forward position when carrying conventional munitions because it moved the center of gravity too far forward.
So this was their solution:
A pylon that was longer and mounted the MAU-12 farther forward for the missiles, but that also had the ability to move the MAU-12 back to the original (normal) position for other weapon loads. So here are what the pylons would look like with the MAU-12 in either position.
|Here is the MAU-12 in the forward position for carrying the Popeye or Tadmit weapons.|
|Here is the MAU-12 in the aft (or normal) position for all other weapons.|
- Drawings (c) by Kim Simmelink
- Israeli Phantoms - The 'Kurnass' in IDF/AF Service - 1969-1988, by Andreas Klein & Shlomo Aloni
- Israeli Phantoms - The 'Kurnass' in IDF/AF Service - 1989 until Today, by Andreas Klein & Shlomo Aloni
10/26/2013 - Original Post